Family is something to be thankful for


This is the time for family — for looking back on what truly matters. The highlight of my year was the wedding of my son, Paul to his long-time girlfriend, the beautiful and charming Aysha. Paul and Aysha met in their undergrad years at Queen’s.

Their wedding was very Canadian — a combination of cultures and traditions. Aysha’s mom and dad, Yasmin and Amin, live in London, Ont. They’re Ismailis who came to Canada from east Africa and whose spiritual leader is the Aga Khan.

As a group, Ismailis are entrepreneurial, successful and have contributed enormously to this country. In their tradition, a wedding lasts several days — with henna painting, a gorgeous evening celebrating Indian culture, and the wedding in a mosque the next day. Amin and Yasmin were incredibly generous and welcoming to our family. They explained that for them, a wedding is a business contract, not a religious ceremony.

Like so many cross-cultural weddings, we meshed our Anglican traditions with the Ismaili ones — and ended up with a lovely mix. We had an elegant reading from the Qur’an that spoke about the universality of faith. The message was that we are all one humanity, created by one God, whatever name we may call him. Time to take stock My son, for his part, chose that beautiful passage from Corinthians: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love, I am but a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” It was all eloquent and meaningful and it made me realize how much people lose when they use religion as a barrier rather than as a hand of friendship.

Weddings make you take stock of your life. Friends and family get together for a great celebration. Paul’s old school friends arrived from around the world. It touched my heart to see how they had grown and what paths they had taken. One friend is doing ground-breaking cancer research in B.C. Ironically, she makes so little money doing such vital ork that she could barely afford to come in for the wedding. If only she were a hockey player or an eHealth consultant, think how much more we’d value her work.

Another friend, a Reformation scholar in the U.K., was picked to read the Bible passage. When I fussed about which version I wanted him to use, he calmly gave me the full history of the translation. Yes, the kids are all right. We agonized about them growing up with values in an often valueless society. Somehow, they’ve worked it out in a way that is far more generous and inclusive than we did. Hope for future My wish for Christmas is that we all learn to get along. It isn’t that difficult. Ironically, Paul and Aysha’s wedding came just a week after Florida pastor Terry Jones  hreatened to burn the Qur’an and ignite a frenzy of intolerance around the world.

My friends who came to the wedding laughed at his stupidity — and pointed out that there were more people at this one happy wedding than Jones had in his entire spiteful congregation.He spoke only of hate. Paul and Aysha’s  ceremony spoke only of love and conciliation.

via Ottawa Sun

About Ahmad Amirali

I am an educator by profession, pursuing my further career in teaching and learning. I love to read and, even more, love to share what I read.
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